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Category Archives: E-Commerce

FTC is Making Consumer Complaint Data More Accessible

“The Federal Trade Commission hears from millions of consumers each year about fraud, identity theft, and other problems, allowing us to warn other consumers about scams they should watch out for, while also providing the agency with an important source of information to support our enforcement actions. Starting today, the FTC will be making this information more accessible by releasing its aggregated consumer complaint data on a quarterly basis in a new interactive online format. Up until now, the FTC has released aggregated consumer complaint data collected through our Consumer Sentinel Network on an annual basis. Our new tool will provide a more timely snapshot of what consumers are reporting, while empowering users to explore the data by types of fraud, state, and a variety of other dimensions. As part of this initiative, we are also introducing our first Consumer Protection Data Spotlight, which will take a deep dive into the data to illuminate important stories we are hearing from consumers. This first edition of the Data Spotlight focuses on a disturbing trend in 2018 – scammers are increasingly demanding to be paid with gift cards, particularly iTunes and Google Play cards. The percentage of consumers who told the FTC that scammers demanded to be paid with gift cards or reload cards such as MoneyPak has increased 270 percent since 2015. Gift and reload cards are now the number one reported method of payment for imposter scams…”

A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is as Creepy as You Feared

The New York Times: “…The [tech] industry’s new goal? Not a computer on every desk nor a connection between every person, but something grander: a computer inside everything, connecting everyone. Cars, door locks, contact lenses, clothes, toasters, refrigerators, industrial robots, fish tanks, sex toys, light bulbs, toothbrushes, motorcycle helmets — these and other everyday objects… Continue Reading

Alexa, Should We Trust You? The voice revolution has only just begun

The Atlantic: “…Cynics of every age suspect their virtual assistants of eavesdropping, and not without reason. Smart speakers are yet another way for companies to keep tabs on our searches and purchases. Their microphones listen even when you’re not interacting with them, because they have to be able to hear their “wake word,” the command… Continue Reading

Inventor of World Wide Web announces project to restore power and agency of individuals on the web

Tim Berners-Lee – via his company, inrupt: “I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity… Continue Reading

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information

Gizmodo: “…One of the many ways that ads get in front of your eyeballs on Facebook and Instagram is that the social networking giant lets an advertiser upload a list of phone numbers or email addresses it has on file; it will then put an ad in front of accounts associated with that contact information.… Continue Reading

Digital Deceit II: A Policy Agenda to Fight Disinformation on the Internet

“Digital disinformation poses a grave threat to our democracy and demands a new social contract between consumers and internet companies that is rooted in transparency, privacy and competition, according to a new report co-published by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and New America, the Washington, D.C.-based… Continue Reading

HBR – Uninformed Consent

Harvard Business Review – Companies want access to more and more of your personal data — from where you are to what’s in your DNA. Can they unlock its value without triggering a privacy backlash? Leslie K. John – Marvin Bower associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School: “…Technology has advanced far beyond… Continue Reading

Google Says It Continues to Allow Apps to Scan Data From Gmail Accounts

WSJ [paywall] via MarketScreener [no paywall]: “Google Inc. told lawmakers it continues to allow other companies to scan and share data from Gmail accounts, responding to questions raised on Capitol Hill about privacy and potential misuse of the information contained in users’ emails.” “In a letter to senators, a top Google official said the company… Continue Reading

Study Shows the Best Times of Day to Post to Social Media

Harvard Business Review: “U.S. companies are expected to spend more than $37 billion dollars on social media promotion annually each year by 2020, representing 24% of the economy’s total digital advertising spend. It’s an astounding number, given that the vast majority of social media managers charged with getting customers to click on posts and through… Continue Reading

Decentralisation: the next big step for the world wide web

The Guardian – “The decentralised web, or DWeb, could be a chance to take control of our data back from the big tech firms. So how does it work and when will it be here? What is the decentralised web? It is supposed to be like the web you know but without relying on centralised… Continue Reading

Amazon global headquarters competition yields huge cache of economic data

Axios: “When Amazon invited cities to compete for its second global headquarters a year ago today, it got reams of data from the 238 entrants — enough to learn details of the cities’ future plans that a lot of their residents don’t even know about, Axios’ Erica Pandey reports. Why it matters: The information effectively… Continue Reading

Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea

The New York Times: “With a single scholarly article, Lina Khan, 29, has reframed decades of monopoly law….In early 2017, when she was an unknown law student, Ms. Khan published “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” in the Yale Law Journal. Her argument went against a consensus in antitrust circles that dates back to the 1970s — the… Continue Reading